How Being A Blogger Is Like Being A Baseball Player

The other day I had a brilliant idea wherein I change my brand to blogging about blogging using baseball analogies and similes.

I'm joking about the brilliant idea. I'm not joking about the baseball part. Which is why I'm presenting you with this probably bad, definitely weird post about what bloggers and baseball players have in common.

Long hours.

Weekends and holidays, what are those? These don't exist when you're a pro baseball player, and they certainly don't exist for bored teenagers who decided to start a blog with the goal of publishing one post once per day.

Thick skin.

Otherwise, you'll break like a breaking ball. Get it? Because breaking balls break. I'm so helpful. I know. My friends tell me that all the time.

Constantly thinking.

About blogging or baseball even when you aren't blogging or baseballing. Allow me to butcher words as I please.

Continually failing.

If you get a hit three out of the ten times you come to the plate, you're considered an above average hitter. So it's okay to fail more than you succeed. Now if only I could publish one half decent post for every hundred that I write. Then a certain girl might be able to blog about baseball for a living.

Messing up.

Even professional baseball players make errors. News flash: they're human beings too. Last I checked, so are bloggers. Everybody and their moms screw up, but there's no need to beat yourself up over a minor mistake.

Hard work.

They say baseball is a mental game. People have said that, right? I can't afford to pay anyone to fact-check my content. And I'm too lazy to do it myself. Blogging is very much a mental game, if not even more so than any sport. After all, bloggers don't actually have to move anything but their fingers.

I probably struck out on with this post. Next time I'll write a hit.

20 Reasons Why I Write

In honour of turning two decades old later this month, here are twenty reasons why I'm still a writer.

  1. I love writing with all my hollow heart.
  2. I'm not horrible with words.
  3. I am terrible with numbers.
  4. Stories have changed my life for better or worse.
  5. I'll face the blank page over boredom any day of the year.
  6. Being published is better than not being published.
  7. Real people aren't as cool as fictional ones.
  8. Every day is an emotional roller coaster I'm never ready for.
  9. Other writers keep me from going insane.
  10. Therapy is expensive.
  11. I can write alone, by myself, on my own.
  12. I've learned more from writing books than reading textbooks.
  13. It's fun to inflict pain on fictional characters.
  14. I enjoy the suffering of others.
  15. I can relive experiences as many times as I want.
  16. Writing provides me some much needed perspective.
  17. I don't want to talk to people.
  18. People interrupt me on the rare occasion I do open my mouth to say something.
  19. Writing makes me happier than anything else in this world.

Why do you write?

Why I Have A Hard Time Sharing My Creative Writing

Sharing my creative writing with others is a challenge to say the least.

The other day I was trying to pick a story to send to two strangers for their feedback. I had the hardest time emailing a copy of my work to them.

There's something personal about openly sharing your stories with someone else. To an extent, some of my blog posts are personal, and I don't have a problem posting those for the world to see. With creative writing however, I feel as though I'm exposing more of myself.

As I've said, these two are strangers. I think I'd be more comfortable with sharing if I knew them longer, trusted them more. I'm sure they're wonderful human beings. It's still tough to open up and feel vulnerable in front of people you hardly know.

If I had a penny for every times I've said I wanted to get better, I'd be one wealthy woman. Even though I do hope to improve, I'm not the best at asking for feedback. Ditto for applying any feedback I receive.

I'm stubborn. Worse, I have a gigantic ego that loves to get in the way. On a good day, I'm able to shove it aside for the sake of my art.

Every time I've put my art first before my ego, the former benefits greatly.

I say the following not to brag, but to make it clear that I had a different, unusual path when I started out as a writer and blogger. I found success early on in both endeavours. In some ways, I was even more successful a few years ago than I have been recently.

So, for many reasons, my ego was inflated in high school. A part of me thought I always knew what was best, what was right.

Of course, that's not always the case.

Over time, my ego has taken a good beating.

I'm at a point now where I feel confident, not cocky in my abilities. After all, I've come a long way, but I still have plenty of room for improvement.

I can identify strengths and weaknesses in my own work. But having an outside perspective point out certain problems can make all the difference.

What I want to say ultimately boils down to these points:

Sharing your writing with strangers isn't easy. It can be a vulnerable experience. That's okay, though. So long as you don't let your ego stop you from improving your art in every way possible. And sometimes the best thing you can do is to put your ego aside and listen to others.

I think I've reaffirmed what I knew all along. Egos suck.

Doing Better Than Others Versus Doing Better Than Yourself

Although I was obsessed with doing better than others for one year too many, I'm more focused on myself now. I'd like to stay this way moving forward.

I remember a time when I looked at a blogger's stats (followers, views, etc.) and felt discouraged. Defeated even. I wanted to do better than others instead of trying to improve myself.

Even before I made this blog, I strived to beat out the students in my class. For a while, I stopped being concerned with my personal goals because I concentrated so much on the success of other people. Strangers, friends, acquaintances alike.

At some point, I realized doing better than others didn't make me happy. I shouldn't have cared how everyone else did in relation to myself.

So nearly twenty years after I came into this world, I've come to a few conclusions.

I have to define success on my own terms. I won't steal someone's definition and settle with it.

I want to do better than me, myself, and I. Which is why I need to strive to beat my personal best, not the best of another blogger or student.

After all, I'm on my own unique journey. And everyone else around me is on a different one of their own. It's unfair to compare.  

We're all human beings, but we aren't exactly the same. Like comparing apples to oranges. Both are fruits but apples aren't oranges. I'm not you. You are not me.

Besides, I'm happier when I focus on what I'm doing and how well I'm doing. Also, the time I spend asking a peer what they got on a test or peeking at a creator's numbers is better spent practicing my skills. I could be studying harder or blogging more to improve my abilities.

Interestingly enough, I constantly write in my journal that I can do better. One because it's true. And two because I want to. More than anything. I would love nothing more than to become a better writer and blogger. To grow as an artist.

Every day I should do something to ensure I'm moving forward rather than fall behind or stay stagnant.

Going forward, I hope I'll make a conscious effort to be better than I was yesterday.

My goal is to beat my own goals, best my personal records, not those of others.

Lie To Me By J. T. Ellison | A Book Review

TitleLie To Me

Author: J. T. Ellison

Genre: Thriller

About the book: I received an uncorrected proof of this standalone novel from a GoodReads giveaway.

First impressions: After reading the back cover, I immediately thought Lie to Me sounded a lot like Gone Girl. Although I enjoyed the latter, I’m glad Ellison put a unique spin on the woman goes missing narrative. I went in with high hopes because I tend to love suspenseful thrillers. The beginning didn’t disappoint. It sets up the rest of the story well in my opinion.

Summary: A woman goes missing. The husband is suspect number one in the eyes of family, friends, the media, and the police. An investigation begins, but as lies begin to come to light, the truth becomes more clear.

Characters: The author created flawed characters with problematic pasts. I liked Ethan despite his shortcomings. His wife, Sutton, disappears and leaves a note saying not to look for her. Near the end of the book, readers get more of her backstory, which is interesting to say the least. She became more likeable the more I learned about her. Ellison did a nice job with all the characters, good and bad.

Quote:

“We are afraid to die, and so we are afraid to live.”

Conflict: The characters want to get to the bottom of Sutton’s disappearance. Somehow, I figured out who was behind it all relatively early on. I had a hunch after a certain incident, and the book reaffirmed my hypothesis all the way. That being said, I wasn’t sure of this character’s motive until the very end. Wanting to learn how Ellison would resolve the loose ends made me keep turning the pages.

Writing: For the most part, the story is told in third person. The book contains different perspectives as well as a then and now glimpse into the events of the past, which offer more insight into the present. It gave me a better understanding of the main characters and what motivates them.

I’m aware it’s an uncorrected proof, but there were more errors than I anticipated. I could still make sense of everything, but the mistakes took me out of the reading experience ever so slightly. I hope the finished copy is much more polished.

The sentences are short. The chapters aren’t long. Some clock in at a couple of pages. This kept the suspense going, which I’m all for.

Final thoughts: The ending reveals a ton of information in a short amount of time, so it answers the questions posed in the beginning nicely.

I enjoyed this one. I think fans of suspenseful reads such as A Girl on the Train should consider checking out Ellison’s novel. I was worried Lie to Me would read very much like Gone Girl, but I’m glad it didn’t. Though I could predict some twists, the book had a few different turns that took me by surprise.

I’d recommend the novel to lovers of thrillers. Even if you don’t normally reach for crime or mystery on a daily basis, I think you won’t regret reaching for Lie to Me, especially when you just want to be entertained.

Lie to Me will be released on September 5, 2017. You can preorder the book here. Or if you’re patient, you can wait.

This post has affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy through them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Cradle to Cradle By William McDonough And Michael Braungart | A Book Recommendation

As the summer comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to get lost in a book or twenty.

I wanted to share one with you because sharing is caring. And I care.

The book is all about re-thinking the production of sustainable products and their impact on the future.

I’m all for spreading awareness of causes close to my heart. Sustainability is one of them. I try to be mindful of what I’m using and how my decisions today affect the earth in the future.

By working together, we can make a difference for the environment.

As of right now, more and more people are embracing or employing sustainable products. Congratulations to those companies. Kudos to the many individuals.

This is an awesome read to end your summer off on the right note. Don’t forget once you finish reading it, you can always pass your copy along to a friend. Now that’s sustainability.

Title: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

Author: William McDonough and Michael Braungart

About the book: 

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things is considered the authoritative work on sustainable design and eco-effectiveness. Originally penned in 2002, the practices and philosophy are still as relevant today and are being implemented in everything from architecture to high fashion. Applying their expertise to some of the twenty-first century’s greatest challenges, McDonough and Braungart lay the groundwork for the world to adopt an environmentally-friendly policy without sacrificing profit or economic growth for the industries of tomorrow.

Where you can find the book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple iBooks

About the author:

William McDonough’s written work has reverberated through the architecture, product design, and sustainability industries. Recognized for his beneficial design manifesto Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, William McDonough has pioneered a closed loop design process and philosophy changing the way industry thinks about life cycles. His involvement in the development of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and Design Framework has enabled companies across the world to implement sustainable practices and design. William McDonough received the National Design Award for his work in environmental design and his firm McDonough + Partners has developed sustainable flagships for Ford and NASA.

How you can connect with William online: Twitter | LinkedIn

Here’s to a more sustainable future!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Don’t Let The Bad Days Win

Don't let the bad days win. Easier said than done.

They happen. Grind through them.

It's okay to take an easier day when you aren't feeling well. The world won't end.

There's always going to be work, something to do. But the most important things in life aren't going to be around forever.

Life is dirty, messy.

Nothing worth doing is ever easy. If it was, everyone would be successful at everything.

Even the happiest people in the world have bad days.

The hard times make the great moments even better.

Life is unfair. Accept that and move on.

You're not alone. Someone, somewhere feels the same way you do right now.

Keep going and continue doing your thing.

Try not to take everything personally. It's not always about you.

Some days you do nothing wrong and still lose. Losing is part of living.

You can spend years getting working hard, yet lose all you worked for in a second.

From time to time, bad days stretch into bad weeks. It gets better.

You never know what tomorrow may bring, so make the best of what you have today at this very moment.

You aren't perfect. You don't have to be. Human beings are human. People make mistakes.

Don't stress too much about what's already happened. You can't change the past or go back in time. But you can change your future by focusing on the present.

Be a kind human being, even and especially when you don't feel your best.

I wrote this post during a bad day. I needed to remind myself of certain things, cliché and all.

Thanks for sticking around and reading my ramblings. I appreciate it more than you know. I'll leave you with one last thought.

Take the good and bad in life because there isn't one without the other.

Failure, Fear, And Feelings

This will come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, but I don't enjoy failing. And I hate feeling paralyzed by failure even more.

Unsurprisingly, I've failed in my life. Many times in fact. I've made mistakes and messed up. But I try not to let my past failures hold me back.

I don't want to stop taking risks because I feel scared of rejection.

That being said, I'm still afraid of things.

I can get over disappointing others, letting everyone else down. Yet I have a hard time moving past the idea of failing myself again and again.

My memory works great when remembering the bad. Not only do I remember my failures, I also have a knack for recalling my near failures.

What compounds the problem is my own perception of failure. My personal definition doesn't match up with any found in a dictionary. Some definition I have.

In the past, I used to tell my friends or classmates I failed a test. Most took that to mean I didn't ace it. I don't blame them.

For a while, I deemed any grade less than an A to be an F for failure.

When I think about my academic career thus far, I wonder how much of my success in school was because I felt so afraid of failing, I worked as hard as possible to ensure I wouldn't.

And although fear can be a great motivator, it can also be a dream killer.

The thought process for some may be if I'm going to fail anyway, why bother trying at all?

I hate that sort of mentality, but I also fall into this trap from time to time.

On certain days, I genuinely believe I'm not any good. (Writing the aforementioned sentence has made me emotional.)

I think I'm not enough. I'll never be smart enough or good enough or beautiful enough.

I have not been this emotional writing a blog post. Ever. Four years. One thousand plus posts. And I finally break down while writing one. About time, huh?

A part of me wishes I could rewind my life and go back to the days I felt fearless. A time when the idea of failure didn't cross my mind. A moment when it didn't matter to me what anyone else thought.

I'd also like to have my almost-started-crying-while-penning-a-blog-post card back. Oh well. I can live without it.

How To Write And Win Essay Based Scholarships

I'm not an expert by any means, but I've written my share of essays for school and scholarships.

These are my tips to increase your chances of standing out and possibly winning a scholarship.

Apply for them.

You can't win if you don't apply. Was it Einstein who said, "common sense isn't always common practice" or was it another intelligent human being? Either way, the point stands.

Brainstorm ideas.

You need to write about something. So having a couple topics to explore can't hurt. Obviously, you'll want to pick the best one and run with it.

Cut the unoriginal.

Be different, interesting. After all, sometimes you're judged on creativity or originality.

Don't repeat the essay prompt.

I'm not keen on telling people what not to do, but imagine reading 999 entries that started off by restating the prompt.

Easy reading means hard editing.

Give yourself enough time to edit your essay. At the very least, put it aside for a few days, so when you come back to your work, you see the words with fresher eyes. Even several hours between writing and editing can do wonders.

Follow the rules.

Do what's asked. Provide any necessary documentation. You might be disqualified otherwise.

Grind through it.

At times, you may feel tempted to give up. Keep going. You'll better than you think.

Help yourself.

You want to avoid sabotaging your own entry in any way. Never overlook a small detail or do something that's the opposite of smart. Answer what's asked. Fill out your contact information accurately. Review your submission for grammar and spelling mistakes.

I'm realizing this post isn't all that helpful. Go figure.

Maybe one day Herminia Chow will create useful content that isn't just spewing common sense. Today is not that day.

Face Your Fears As A Writer

I like to think I am more fearless while writing as opposed to when I'm not. What a surprise.

I wouldn't compare myself to a chicken because I'm worse.

In real life, I hold myself back from doing things because I'm scared. And I wonder if my fears also faze me in creative pursuits such as blogging.

I know I can take bigger risks and push the envelope more so to speak. But I don't.

Is it because I'm terrified of the unknown? Am I afraid to depart from what I'm used to and do something different?

Yes. And yes.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm only taking small baby steps. It's still better than not taking any, never moving forward.

What gets me is the fact that at one point in my life writing was risky.

I didn't always write. I wasn't good at it. Even though I had no idea what my future held, I figured writing wouldn't work out for me.

So many years ago, I took a risk one day by picking up a pen and putting words on the page.

Now all I want is to create better content, tell greater stories. Tough to do so if I'm scared of failing or rejection.

Maybe your definition of risk is different from mine. That's fine.

But isn't it insane to imagine how the things you do now were a risk or a fear five years ago? That what you consider risky now might be totally safe, even routine a month from now?

I guess what I'm trying to get at is our fears change. Our definition of risk does too. Almost everything and everyone changes. Don't be afraid of change. Embrace it.

After all, you can live your whole live letting fear hold you back or you can show fear what you're made of.

Here's to conquering our fears. Face the page and take risks. You have more to gain than you have to lose.

Life is a journey, after all. Might as well enjoy where you are right now.

Doing more, doing better happens gradually. You don't make leaps and bounds in progress overnight. But every time you face your fear, you're improving yourself.

It's okay to be afraid. But it's not okay to let your biggest fear hold you back.

I don't have an easy solution. The best we can do as writers and human beings is to confront what's holding us back from reaching our full potential.

Dig deep. Find the strength you need to overcome your greatest insecurities.

Realize there's no feat quite like facing your demons and coming out victorious.

I raise my glass of water to all of you. Keep taking risks. Remember you're better than you fears.